Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay more than $2.9 billion as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice as well as authorities in the United Kingdom and Singapore over the bank’s involvement in a bribery scheme. The scheme involved paying bribes to obtain business for the bank in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, including its role in underwriting bond deals worth $6.5 billion for 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB.
The banks’ Malaysian subsidiary has pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to one count of conspiring to violate anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Former Southeast Asia Chairman Tim Leissner previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money. Former managing director and head of investment banking for GS Malaysia Roger Ng was charged with conspiring to launder money.
The bank also said it would claw back millions in bonus payments from chief executive officer David Solomon, former CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and other executives over the fraud. The clawbacks and forfeitures for Goldman execs, current and former, are expected to total $174 million.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who lost an election in 2018, was charged with 42 criminal offenses. The scandal also involved Elliott Broidy, a top fundraiser for the Republican National Committee, who plead guilty to illegally lobbying the Trump administration to end an investigation into Jho Low, the alleged mastermind of the scheme whose current whereabouts are unknown.
“Goldman Sachs today accepted responsibility for its role in a conspiracy to bribe high-ranking foreign officials to obtain lucrative underwriting and other business relating to 1MDB,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt said in a statement.
The bank’s Asia unit was also fined $350 million by Hong Kong’s markets watchdog Thursday over lapses and deficiencies in controls related to 1MDB.
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